Crow Pass Trail to the pass and back
(7 miles, +2,300/-2,300 feet)
We’ve had an amazing time in Alaska, and this was probably my favorite of all our great hikes.
Unlike the Harding Icefield Trail which started below treeline, this one started above, which greatly reduced our anxiety about running into a grizzly. This was particularly important because a hiker got eaten on this very trail a couple of days ago (it was the headline of the local paper). But not to worry — that hiker was alone, hiking in the dark, and on a part of the trail at least 10 miles further than we planned to go, where dense vegetation made it easy to startle a bear.
The trail up to Crow Pass pretty much goes straight up the whole time, but it is so well graded that it does not feel like a steep climb.
Soon we had to choose between a lower route that follows the creek and passes a mine, and a higher route with better views that traverses several snow fields. We chose high and saved low for later.
After a couple of miles the trail levels out near Crystal Lake. There is a cabin next to the lake, and even though it’s almost July, it was still frozen over.
We paused to eat our sandwiches where the wind was a bit calmer and then we continued on through the snowfields to the pass.
A bit past the pass you get some fantastic views of the Raven Glacier.
Half Cookie was cold so she got started back while I went a bit more down the trail to get a good look at the glacier.
I headed back too and watched as Half Cookie made her way across the soaked tundra at the top of the pass.
For the return we took the low route and it was also very pretty (but no snow to cross!).
For the last hour some Dall Sheep followed up on the opposite side of the valley. If you squint, there are some dots of white about halfway up in center left:
And what hiking trip is complete without visiting a local brewery?